The New River Valley Regional Commission began seeking feedback on current broadband access from residents of Blacksburg, Christiansburg and greater Montgomery County back in October 2016. Results were shared with local leaders in March and again this week with internet service providers and local officials.
Kevin Byrd, executive director of the NRVRC, led the presentation. While commission members did say that much of the feedback they received was expected, there is also great value in seeing developing trends. One such trend is the growing number of people working from home, whether full-time or logging time outside the office after hours. Of course, primary usage of residential internet service remains email, shopping, news, music and streaming video.
Survey respondents were asked about their satisfaction with factors such as speed, reliability, and customer service. Each area saw strengths and weaknesses with the service offerings available to them. Christiansburg residents were mostly pleased with the level of support and service they receive from providers, but not as much with the speed and reliability. In Blacksburg, it was just the opposite. Speed and reliability are satisfactory while customer service is not. County residents, most of whom are out of range of the larger providers in both towns, are not satisfied with any aspect of the services they use.
It’s clear that residents want more options, but they do not want their local government providing internet as a utility. When the floor was turned over to providers to ask questions the topic naturally turned to how we can best work with local officials to increase broadband access and bring competition to the market.
At GoGig, we’re already working with local officials in Blacksburg and partnering with local businesses to expand our coverage of fiber-based, advanced wireless service. We will continue to look for more opportunities to grow into other areas at the same time. Demand for broadband access is only going to increase, and as access grows capacity needs to grow, too.
We are adding new businesses as clients every month, and we will soon be adding residential service. If you’re interested in talking more with us about service for your business or home, please complete our availability survey.
If you’re interested in reviewing results of the survey for yourself, they can be found on the New River Valley Regional Commission’s website at www.nrvrc.org.
Accelerate Blacksburg hosts regular monthly meetups where professionals from startups to venture capital managers come together to network and hear from local businesses about specific issues. Last month, that issue was expansion of broadband capabilities within the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.
As GoGig’s marketing and sales team member, I was able represent the company on the panel alongside Robert McAden, head of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), and Gordie Zeigler, Chairman of the Board of The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. The panel was moderated by James Creekmore of The Creekmore Law Firm, and owner of TechPad and Studio 2.0.
McAden and Ziegler offered valuable insight on the opportunities that increased broadband access will mean for the entire Roanoke-Blacksburg region, specifically as it relates to recruiting talent from outside the area. The Blacksburg Electronic Village once had the scientific community focused on this area, but in the 20+ years since the BEV hit its stride, other regions around the country, most notably the Silicon Valley, have caught up and surpassed our region in terms of infrastructure and reputation.
I was able to share some of the challenges and opportunities GoGig has experienced as a startup providing superior internet service via fiber plus advanced wireless technology. Notably, that we’ve already seen the positive effect technology like ours can have as more and more area companies are making the move to downtown Blacksburg to take advantage of our first-class speed and reliability.
GoGig’s capabilities and the regional vision of the RBTC representatives sparked great discussion among the attendees, who also included members of the Blacksburg Town Council. Responding to questions from attendees, the panel covered topics ranging from how to market the opportunities that exist in our region, recruiting talent from outside the area, how the RBTC can provide support in those areas, and how GoGig is working to expand our technology to serve a growing base of businesses working in an office and at home.
Even after the panel was done and the event officially wrapped up, I enjoyed more conversations with folks who are excited about the direction that business in Blacksburg is headed. We’re excited to be a part of it as new businesses are signing up and coming on board with GoGig every month.
If you’re interested in hearing more about GoGig and the service we provide, complete our availability survey.
Uninterrupted wireless service is now available in downtown Blacksburg through Virginia Tech’s “eduroam” network. The service is a result of a collaboration between the university and GoGig, an internet company that provides free wireless in downtown Blacksburg.
Read more on roanoke.com
Dave Perks joins Paul VanWagoner, host of ESPN Blacksburg's The Drive afternoon show, to discuss GoGig's launch in the Blacksburg market. Listen to learn more.